???Point Basse, the French term for "low point" or "shallows," is located in what is now the Wood County township of Saratoga. For thousands of years Native Americans crossed the Wisconsin River here, the midpoint of a trail that ran east and west from Lake Poygan to Black River Falls. North and south along the river are mounds constructed 700-1,000 years ago by these early residents.
???Albert Ellis, Surveyor General of Wisconsin, felt Point Basse was the premier location for a settlement. The river provided water access, and the Pinery Road between Portage and Whitney's Mill at Nekoosa provided land access.
???South, the Wisconsin River was open to watercraft all the way to the Mississippi River, and beginning in 1844, steamboats began carrying supplies, lumber, and passengers. Point Basse became a rendezvous site for Indians, voyageurs, lumbermen and raftsmen, and a social center for local residents.
???Robert and Mary Wakely built a tavern, inn and trading post on this site in the years after their arrival in 1837, including piers, a shingle mill, warehouse, and barn. For a time the site was called "Old Ferry Farm" because of the cable ferry that operated from this point to the west bank of the river until 1916, but to early residents and travelers it was "Wakely's Tavern."
???In 1986 "Historic Point Basse" was formed as a non-profit organization to continue development of this pioneer settlement as an educational resource for the public. Between 1986 and 2009 the remaining house structure on the site was restored. The fur traders' cabin, three bay shed, blacksmith's shop, chicken coop and barn have been added to the site as representative structures of the Wakely era.
???The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1974. The stone arch bridge was added to the Register in 2001.